Gravity and evolution

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Helen, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Helen

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    Galatian posted: Gravity was not "known" for many centuries. It was observed that things fall down when nothing stops them. However, gravity was first hypothesized by Newton, who showed how it worked and that it could account for the motions of planets. Likewise, we see variation within and among species. Darwin only discovered why it works, and showed that it could account for common descent.

    The effects of gravity were certainly known for many centuries. However I never saw anyone use the word ‘known’ regarding gravity in the terms Galatian referred to it – except him. Who he was disputing, I don’t know.

    However it does need to be said that Newton was not the first to hypothesize about gravity! Before Newton were Pato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Aristarchus, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo – at least. Newton formulated some ideas about gravity. But knowing exactly WHAT it is, is still up for grabs.

    Does this correspond with evolution? Not at all! We see gravity, whatever it is, work everyday. We depend on it! No one has seen evolution work outside of simple variations – none of which change the identity of the organism from its original classification above the species level. And since ‘species’ is a very arbitrary term, declaring a new ‘species’ is extremely subjective and has no relation to the actual change of form and function brought on by mutations and time and chance. All Darwin SAW was variation – specifically in pigeons, I believe – and that among birds bred in captivity! So not only was his famous ‘natural selection’ not involved, intelligent design (breeding) was! The leap from that to common descent was one of illogic and pure speculation – speculation which has not held up with increasing evidence available.
     
  2. Johnv

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    But knowing exactly WHAT it [gravity] is, is still up for grabs.

    I thought the principle of gravity was simple: All matter in the universe exerts a pull (aka, gravity). The greater the mass of an object, the greater the pull. This is Newton's law. Prior to Newton, people observed objects falling towards earth, but had no concept of gravity being universal.
     
  3. The Galatian

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    Galatian observes:
    Gravity was not "known" for many centuries. It was observed that things fall down when nothing stops them. However, gravity was first hypothesized by Newton, who showed how it worked and that it could account for the motions of planets. Likewise, we see variation within and among species. Darwin only discovered why it works, and showed that it could account for common descent.

    So were the effects of evolution. But gravity (as opposed to the effects of gravity) wasn't "known" until someone could come up with a theory to explain it.

    Newton. You see, the fact that people knew things fell toward the ground didn't mean that they "knew" gravity, any more than the observation of variations that were more or less fit meant that they "knew" evolution.

    Newton explained what it was, and showed how it worked. Then we "knew" gravity. Before that, no one had any notion that the same forces that make an apple fall from a tree make the moon move in orbit.

    When do you think the word "gravity" appeared?

    Wrong. No one associated the movement of planets with gravity. Even Kepler, although he was able to formulate a law describing that motion, did not know why it happened. Newton explained why, in a general theory of gravity. (this, BTW, is an illustration of why theories are more powerful and useful than laws)

    Yep. People had noted for a long time that variations occur, and that they can accumulate over time to make a change in the population. Animal breeders were quite familiar with that. Darwin's insight was how it worked to make new species.

    Last I heard, the ICR admitted that even new families evolve. In an e-mail, John Woodmorappe of "Ark Feasibility Study" fame told me the same thing. If creationists back up just a little more, we won't have anything to argue about.

    Anyway, there are a good number of new species directly observed to occur in nature, so the "only by design" idea isn't viable, either.
     
  4. Helen

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    from Johnv: I thought the principle of gravity was simple: All matter in the universe exerts a pull (aka, gravity). The greater the mass of an object, the greater the pull. This is Newton's law. Prior to Newton, people observed objects falling towards earth, but had no concept of gravity being universal.

    It's not that simple at all, John. We don't know WHAT it is that exerts a 'pull'! Why does it happen? What if it's a 'push' due to something we have not even recognized yet? Gravity remains a subject of giant debate and research in physics.

    So were the effects of evolution. But gravity (as opposed to the effects of gravity) wasn't "known" until someone could come up with a theory to explain it.</font>[/QUOTE]In that case, gravity and evolution are somewhat similar, for no one can really explain either! The major difference, however, is that we can see gravity everyday. We have never seen evolution -- it is a subject of the imagination.

    Newton.</font>[/QUOTE]Newton isn't posting here. You used the quote as though someone posting here had used it. They hadn't.

    Right. And things still fall down and organisms still vary. But variation does not change the organisms away from their original basic type.

    Newton didn't know WHAT gravity was any more than anyone else. He simply formulated how it must work and applied that to more universal objects.

    And that has to do with what? The English language? We aren't discussing the English language. We are discussing your faulty use of the idea that gravity is like evolution!

    Wrong. No one associated the movement of planets with gravity. Even Kepler, although he was able to formulate a law describing that motion, did not know why it happened. Newton explained why, in a general theory of gravity. (this, BTW, is an illustration of why theories are more powerful and useful than laws)</font>[/QUOTE]Excuse me, but we are not talking about orbits. We are talking about gravity right here on earth. Don't change the subject again.

    Breeding for qualities is a LONG shot from a bacteria becoming a bear. Don't confuse the two.

    However we are not discussing variation here. No one is arguing variation. And if you want to take a variety and proclaim it a new species for one reason or another, that's fine. However cats remain cats, dogs remain dogs, fruit flies remain fruit flies, and even the lowly E.coli remains E.coli.

    In short we do not see evolution happening apart from either forced genetic maneuvering by man or simple variation in nature. We do, however, see gravity constantly.
     
  5. The Galatian

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    Einstein pointed out that it is due to the affect of massive objects on space. When one does the math, the affect of such masses precisely matches the effects of what we call "gravity".

    But so far a complete theory of quantum gravity still eludes scientists.

    Barbarian observes:
    The effects of gravity were certainly known for many centuries. Gravity, on the other hand, was not "known" until Newton.

    So were the effects of evolution. But gravity (as opposed to the effects of gravity) wasn't "known" until someone could come up with a theory to explain it.

    Not completely, but I'm pleased to hear that you think they are similar in the degree to which we understand them. There's still a lot of important questions to answer. However, what we do know about gravity and evolution has a number of important uses. Drug protocols, for example, agronomy, and breeding, and even predicting what antibiotic resistance might be next:

    http://www.rochester.edu/College/BIO/labs/HallLab/

    Microgravity, you mean. You've never actually seen a galaxy pulled together by gravity.

    Other than the many examples we've shown you on this board.

    Barbarian observes:
    Newton.

    Nevertheless, he is considered to know something about it. :D

    Barbarian observes:
    You see, the fact that people knew things fell toward the ground didn't mean that they "knew" gravity, any more than the observation of variations that were more or less fit meant that they "knew" evolution.

    Assuming that you think fish with legs and dinosaurs with feathers are consistent with their "basic type". "Basic type" is not a scientific term, so it's hard to say what you mean by that.

     
  6. Helen

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    It's hard to laugh when you are twisting and turning around the original point of the thread, Galatian. I stand by what I said at the first. All your verbiage aside, you are not doing anything but wasting bandwidth on side issues.

    We see gravity. We work with gravity. We do not see the evolution of one type of organism into another type of organism (and, as you know, we have been working with E.coli for over a hundred years now, which means approximately 2.5 million generations of the organisms). If we can't get a little prokaryote to change into ANYTHING else in 2.5 million generations, you have to really be shutting your eyes to the evidence to then claim that simple variation, which we see everyday, can lead to one type of thing becoming another type of thing. Variations within kind center around a mean, or basic type. What evolution requires is a radical departure, bit by bit from that basic type until a new type is the result. There is NOTHING in hard evidence which indicates this could have ever happened or could happen at all.

    That's pretty different from gravity which, although we cannot actually define it, we can work with on a daily basis.
     
  7. mdkluge

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    There is no need nor reason to make physics appear inaccessible by mystical invocations of "we don't know what ... is." Of course we do not know, in an ultimate sense, what gravity is, nor what electricity is, nor chlorine, nor the Mona Lisa, nor Abraham Lincoln, nor my dog, nor what any of us is, nor the ultimate nature of God. That doesn't stop us from talking about any of them, nor does it mean that we do not know a great deal about any or all of them.

    Galatian has already briefly discussed what gravitation is at one level of phenomenology. One could go into it more deeply. As explanation unfolds we can, as linteners, after respectful pause, enquire further and deeper into ta subject, mindful that at some depth our collective wisdom and knowledge will not hae penetrated. When we reach that sublime depth we behold on the one hand all that we have learned of a subject (gravity, for example, its universality, the equivalence principle, gravitational field as metric of space-time, and perhapsome (as yet speculative) ideas on quantum gravity.) And on the other hand we shall have an informed wonderment that we cannot (at least now) penetrate our subject more deeply. One steps atop the precipice between our vast (for it cannot be underestimated) knowledge on the one side and the gulf of our ignorance the other side. It's a dazzling sight, but only if one has taken the trouble to understand the nature of our ignorance by first enquiring into our knowledge.

    Anyone with his or her head stuck in a paper bag can say "we don't know what it is" about anything; but to make that a theme of discussion is mere Know-Nothingism. A pronouncement of what we do not know is uninteresting unless accompanied by something of our efforts to know
     
  8. The Galatian

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    You see microgravity. But neither you nor any other human has ever seen a galaxy form by gravitational attraction. Don't give me any excuses that humans don't live that long. If it can't be directly observed in a human lifetime, it can't be true! (warning for the humor-impaired)

    The evidence shows that the jump from prokaryote to eukaryote took longer than anything else in life's history. So that's not a problem, if you know the evidence.

    Such as a fish with legs?

    http://www.palantir.fsnet.co.uk/acanthostega.htm

    http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoLimb.html

    The evidence is voluminous, but is mostly:

    1. Fossil record, showing many transistional stages in many lines.

    2. Later DNA analyses that show precisely the same phylogenies as independently found by anatomical methods.

    3. Numerous biochemical analyses which gives the same results, albeit at a lower resolution, due to more highly-conserved molecules.

    4. Directly observed evolution of irreducibly complex features.

    5. Predictions of the sort of fossils that should exist, based on evolutionary therory, being found at a later time.


    As we discussed earlier, many workers use evolutionary science in their daily work, and their predictions based on it are often validated.
     
  9. Helen

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    Mark,

    the point was that it has been claimed that evolution is just as much a fact as gravity is.

    It is not.

    We can work with gravity. Gravity is observed on a daily basis in operation.

    The type of evolution which turns a bacteria into something else has NEVER been observed and as such is not the same as gravity in terms of being a fact.

    That is the sum total of the argument.

    To claim 'micro-gravity' is silly. That has nothing to do with the argument being made. To claim a history of gravity is a red herring. That has nothing to do with the fact that evolution is an imaginary leap from the reality of variation.

    That's all.

    Galatian is trying to scoot around that fact any way he can.

    I made my point. It does not matter how understandable physics is. Gravity is a fact because it is an observed phenomena. Evolution is not observed. It is therefore not in the same class. To claim it is observed it is necessary to invoke variation, which no one is arguing about anyway!

    Everything else on this thread is off the main topic and can be considered a red herring of one size or another.
     
  10. The Galatian

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    It is observed to the extent that gravity is observed. We can observe the processes that are sufficiently brief to occur in our lifetimes.

    To say that any process that lasts longer than a human lifetime is not possible is absurd. You seem to understand this for such effects due to gravity, but cannot get this fact when it comes to evolution.


    It is therefore not in the same class. To claim it is observed it is necessary to invoke variation, which no one is arguing about anyway!
     
  11. Helen

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    How many generations do you need for a sufficient change to claim the sort of evolution which results in a total change of identity, Galatian? A million? Bacteria can't do it in over twice that.

    No, we have not seen anything at all which indicates evolution is possible.

    However, this is a thread about gravity and evolution. You do have trouble staying on topic, don't you?
     
  12. The Galatian

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    No kidding the evidence is that eukaryotes took about a billion years to evolve. Apparently, a very difficult thing to do.

    Other than the fossil record, genetics, paleontology, observed evolution, etc.

    I'm just responding to your argument. If you didn't want to talk about it, why did you bring it up?

    You toss out so many interesting things in a string, it's hard to ignore them, Helen.
     
  13. Paul of Eugene

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    Did I ever tell you about the time I was a kid and I was talking to my mother about the hands on the clock? I told her the hands on the clock were not moving, I could just see they were standing still. She told me they were moving, only moving to slow for the human eye to notice the movement. I just didn't believe here as a child, but as an adult I know she was right.

    Its the same with evolution. We see about the amount we would expect to see in the time we have seriously been watching for it. It's unreasonable to ask for evolution to move faster than its natural slow pace.
     
  14. Helen

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    It works by generations, Paul. You should be able to come back to a clock in fifteen minutes and see a difference in the hands. You should be able to come back to a bacterial strain in a million generations and see a change, too....
     
  15. Paul of Eugene

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    Well, if you put the bacteria in the same environement they are suited for and let them breed, they won't change. You alter the environment, and the bacteria will evolve to suit the environment. It's a routine thing to breed bacteria to have resistance to an antibiotic they originally couldn't resist. Much to our dismay, they're doing it outside the laboratory! So yes, we do see the hands move a little across the clock of our era . . .
     
  16. Meatros

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    Not that this has much bearing on the conversation, but Robert Pirsig (sp?) argued from this standpoint. Actually IIRC his standpoint was "did gravity exist before Newton". Again, this doesn't have much to do with the conversation as Pirsig was on a completely different track when he brought up gravity in "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintainence".
     
  17. Paul of Eugene

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    OK Back to the theme of this thread, which is something to the effect that gravity is a well known truth but evolution is not.

    First of all, regardless of the true facts about evolution, I think we can all agree there are a wide variety of opinions out there about evolution. In the minds of some, gravity and evolution are equally certainly true. In the minds of others, gravity is true and evolution is not.

    Secondly, we misunderstand when we say gravity is directly observed and evolution is not. We do see things fall - but it is not always true that we see things fall. Just the other day I saw some balloons fighting their strings to rise higher. In my mind I see this as being consistent with gravity. But there is a certain level of inferred relationships and accepted principles involved to make that reconciliation in my mind. When it comes to accepting that Pluto is bound by gravity to the Sun just as the earth is, in my case, that's almost completely a faith kind of thing. I've never seen Pluto in my life! So I take the word of others.

    Is this an unreasonable thing for me to do or is it reasonable? Why is it reasonable for me to believe Pluto the planet is really out there? Why do I follow with interest the debates as to whether it properly meets the definition of a planet?

    So I say gravity, too, is an inferred, abstract thing that we accept based on evidence but it is still an inferred, abstract thing.

    Evidence, folks, it all comes down to evidence.
     
  18. Meatros

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    To add to Paul of Eugene's post:

    In this thread I posted this:

     
  19. Helen

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    Paul, in your first response post you wrote:
    Well, if you put the bacteria in the same environement they are suited for and let them breed, they won't change. You alter the environment, and the bacteria will evolve to suit the environment. It's a routine thing to breed bacteria to have resistance to an antibiotic they originally couldn't resist. Much to our dismay, they're doing it outside the laboratory! So yes, we do see the hands move a little across the clock of our era . . .

    When bacteria 'evolve', they are not doing what you think they are. There are sections of the chromosomes which are called 'hot spots' and which then evolve back and forth (A to B to A to B, etc.). This is constant. Another hot spot will be doing the same thing. So will another hot spot. These combinations at different times are what we are seeing -- standard variations provided by the design of the genome itself. Thus antibiotic resistance has been found in the wild when no antibiotics have been around! So in this case your clock analogy would be like going back in the room and finding the clock had gone backwards during one fifteen minute segment and then forwards and then backwards, etc.

    Evolution requires rather steady movement in one direction or another!

    In your second response, you wrote, "First of all, regardless of the true facts about evolution, I think we can all agree there are a wide variety of opinions out there about evolution. In the minds of some, gravity and evolution are equally certainly true. In the minds of others, gravity is true and evolution is not.

    Thank you for that. For the record, variation is not in question. And when a particular variation becomes the 'hallmark' of an isolated population, we often classify that population as a new species. None of this is in doubt. The part of evolutionary ideas that is being disputed is the idea that we emerged from some unicellular ancestor whatever number of years ago. The concept of common ancestry, in which the proto-bacteria became not only bacteria but bears and bees and banyan trees (sorry, that was fun) is what is being disputed, what genetics indicates is impossible, and what there is no extant evidence for, only 'interpretations' of an extremely spotty fossil record.

    Secondly, we misunderstand when we say gravity is directly observed and evolution is not. We do see things fall - but it is not always true that we see things fall. Just the other day I saw some balloons fighting their strings to rise higher. In my mind I see this as being consistent with gravity.

    Nevertheless, we are still dealing with what we know in terms of the weights of the elements here. These things are worked with everyday and lived with everyday and experienced everyday and counted on everyday.


    But there is a certain level of inferred relationships and accepted principles involved to make that reconciliation in my mind. When it comes to accepting that Pluto is bound by gravity to the Sun just as the earth is, in my case, that's almost completely a faith kind of thing. I've never seen Pluto in my life! So I take the word of others.

    But the point is, you CAN see Pluto if you have the right equipment or are friends with someone who does! Mathematics can show the effect of gravity on Pluto and it can be checked by Pluto's actual motion. In other words, all of this is verifiable -- to you if you have the math and the right telescope!


    Is this an unreasonable thing for me to do or is it reasonable? Why is it reasonable for me to believe Pluto the planet is really out there? Why do I follow with interest the debates as to whether it properly meets the definition of a planet?

    I can't read your mind, so I don't know why you follow the debate with interest! But, given the extant evidence and the mathematics, it would not just be reasonable for you to acknowledge that Pluto exists, but it would be unreasonable NOT to!


    So I say gravity, too, is an inferred, abstract thing that we accept based on evidence but it is still an inferred, abstract thing.

    I don't find anything inferred or abstract about it. Nor do I see that you have presented that argument, actually. We know, experientially and mathematically, exactly what is happening both with the helium balloon and with Pluto.

    This does not hold with common descent evolution. There is no evidence that can be checked, only interpretations which are argued. That is very different!

    And so I absolutely agree with your closing statment:

    Evidence, folks, it all comes down to evidence.
     
  20. The Galatian

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    Hard to explain the evolution of a system to metabolize nylon, as a hot spot, since it's never been seen before, and because it happened as a frame shift, which is not mediated by "hot spots".

    Nor can Barry Hall's experiments be attributed to hot spots. There's a lot more to evolution than you suppose.

    There are many antibiotics found in soil. The "fresh earth" smell you get when working in the garden is from Streptomyces, from which streptomyacin was obtained.

    Actually, it seems to go by fits and starts, mostly caused by changes in environment.

    As you saw earlier, genetics is one of the primary sources of evidence for evolution. DNA analyses show the same phylogenies as evidence obtained early in anatomy and fossils. And we know it works, because the same analyses can be used to demonstrate the ancestry of known groups in people and other organisms.

    Even the errors and glitches point out common descent. For example, humans have one less pair of chromosomes than chimps, even though our DNA is 95%+ similar. But one human chromosome looks precisely like two chimp chromosomes linked together. And in that human chromosome are the remains of telomeres that tell us that it was once two that fused.

    http://www.gate.net/~rwms/hum_ape_chrom.html

    Fossilization, for most organisms, is a very rare thing. Nevertheless, we do have very finely detailed sequences in a number of organisms. Can we talk about some of them?
     

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